WARRANT Drummer: 'I Feel Like I've Been Given A Second Chance To Reconnect With Old Friends'

WARRANT's official MySpace page has been updated with a new interview with drummer Steven Sweet. Several excerpts follow.

Q: WARRANT had played a lot of shows in the past two years. Now that you've taken some down time, are yourestless to get back on the stage?

Sweet: Absolutely! After having just done our first "public" performance on "Rockline", I can say we are all really anxious to keep going. The band feels new again and, in my opinion, stronger than even.

Q: Having been away from the band for a long period of time, what was the selling point for returning to the lineup in 04?

Sweet: I've made it known that a friend of my wife's and mine who sang at our wedding was killed in an auto accident not too long after we were married. The tragedy of her passing so unexpectedly left me with the affirmation that you never know when your time might be up and to embrace each opportunity to live your life to the fullest. My having spent so much time away from the WARRANT guys gave me the space to grow as a person and realize that everyone has to travel their own path to discovery. I had been presented with the idea of rejoining the group over the years, and decided that the time finally felt right to let go of past grievances and embrace the future. Knowing that you only go around once, I really feel like I've been given a second chance to reconnect with old friends and do what I am meant to do, which among other things, is to be a part of WARRANT.

Q: It's known that Erik and Joey have "day jobs". What keeps you busy while you're not on the road with WARRANT?

Sweet: Now and then I do session work as both a drummer and a singer. Much of that work is with my brother Dave who owns and operates a swank digital studio (check out dbwproductions.com). I also freelance as an A&R screener for a company called Taxi Music (taximusic.com). I get to listen to loads of new music by songwriters who are looking for a leg up in the business. The job involves a lot of creative writing in the form of songwriting critiques. The company then forwards to the labels, management companies, or music placement houses the material that meets the given criteria.

Q: It's been said that you'll occasionally do an impersonation of Sharon Osbourne. Do you have any other impersonations and have you done any voice acting?

Sweet: Oh great, now everyone is going to be coming up to me with a... "Hey, do Scoobie Doo," or, "Let me hear your Homer Simpson." Nothing like being put on the spot. I'm joking, actually. I had a period where I was pursuing voice acting a number of years ago loads of competition, requires total commitment, I just wasn't able to put forth the time or effort needed to climb that ladder. Reconnecting with an old acquaintance, E.G. Daily, who does great voice acting work led to an agent and an IKEA radio spot where I did the voice of a dream-interpreting robot.

Q: Last July, WARRANT played the first annual Rocklahoma in OK. What are your thoughts on the event as a whole?

Sweet: The whole multi-day, giant lineup festival idea is great. I can see this kind of thing happening more often as people embrace the bands they grew up with and share the love with younger generations. Rocklahoma, in particular, was so amazing because it took a sampling of all facets of the '80s melodic rock/soft metal genre and presented it it for three days straight. People came from all around the globe to participate. It looks like this year's event will be a continuation of the same only bigger.

Q: Please share with some some highlights of your experience touring with the following bands: FIREHOUSE, L.A. GUNS, MTLEY CRE, POISON.

Sweet: FIREHOUSE: The best summer ever! L.A. GUNS: They're not really vampires, it's just red wine. MTLEY CRE: Kick-start my arena tour, great experience. The funniest thing was when my mom and dad came out to a NY show and watched Tommy's solo from the side of the stage. I had forgotten to give my mom the heads-up that Tommy likes to drop his G-string as the grand finale, she caught an eyeful, to say the least. POISON: Started out good, evolved into a lesson on how not to treat an opening act, which we still abide by today.

Q: What bands or musicians would you consider as your biggest influences?

Sweet: Starting with Neil Peart and moving on to Steve Perry with the likes of Terry Bozzio, Rod Morgenstein, Steve Smith, Marvin Gaye, Prince and Seal rounding things out only begins to cover the array of artists that have and continue to influence my evolution as an artist/musician.

Q: Are there any newer bands that you're currently listening to?

Sweet: I really dig GNARLS BARKLEY, and, of course, SEAL is always on my playlist. It's funny but I don't generally listen to a whole lot of rock (alternative/modern etc.). COLLECTIVE SOUL and PETE YORN are also really inspired and inspiring to me.

Q: How do you personally feel about the new digital age of music downloads?

Sweet: From a technological standpoint, the ease of sharing and manipulating the media is astounding. From a control angle, it's frustrating to the artist because it is so easy to share and download and transfer music that there is a lot of unchecked, unregulated funds that never go to the people who created the music. That's why the big labels aren't able to support artists the way they did in the past, which leaves the lion share of responsibility to the artists themselves. That in itself isn't necessarily a bad thing because to be self-sufficient is the best way to guarantee control over your career. The downside is it's harder and harder to make a living as a musician or artist because so much of what used to be our income is being skimmed off by folks who sell our goods illegally.

Q: Since WARRANT's heyday, the Internet has drastically changed the way bands are able to reach their fans. In what way do you feel that Internet has been the greatest asset, and in what way has it become a nuisance?

Sweet: I, for one, had put off the whole MySpace thing because I do like my privacy and why would I want a whole bunch of relative strangers invading MY space? But as time goes on, you realize it's just another tool which enables you to reach people you otherwise would have no contact with, so it is a good thing all in all. The Internet is an awesome thing. How else could you discover a strange spot on your toe and within seconds have a diagnosis? SPAM, although a tasty processed meat product to some, is a bitch to others, myself included BIG downside. I've had to change email addresses more times than a new parent changes diapers.

Q: Have you had an opportunity to play "Cherry Pie" on Guitar Hero, and if so, what is your opinion on thegame?

Sweet: You know, I haven't ever played Guitar Hero, I'm more of a Dance Revolution kinda guy (I'm kidding, I'm not THAT coordiated, everyone thinks because you play drums for a living that you're actually coordinated on your feet, not always the case, though I'm not bad, I'm no John Travolta.... THAT sounds dated, doesn't it? How about, I'm no Justin Timberlake). Sorry, even though I haven't played the game, I think it's created a whole new fan base for WARRANT. I have a drum student who pre-learned how to play IRON MAIDEN's "Run to the Hills" with Rock Band.

Q: Are you still doing your paintings?

Sweet: If someone is interested and we can strike a deal, I'll be a painting fool. Otherwise, it's another business that requires time and effort to really make it happen. Actually, I am in need of a fresh website design and some advertising then my answer would be, "Yes, I can hardly keep up with the requests." Check out fuzzychildren.com.

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